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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dean's Column (March 2016)

Dear Extension Retirees,

Extension is the University in every county, and this year we want to bring even greater awareness to the many ways Extension’s impact reaches all corners of Minnesota. From Kittson to Houston, Rock to Cook, Traverse to Chisago, Roseau to Faribault—and all 79 counties in between, we connect with communities, partners and the University to address issues that matter most.

I am looking forward to spending more time in Greater Minnesota in 2016—to see our work, meet with our partners and find more ways to highlight Extension’s education, research and impact.

To kick off this effort, I traveled to Mankato at the end of January and to Willmar and St. Cloud in mid-February. During these trips, I visited with Extension employees in the regional offices, met with donors and partners, attended local program events, and conducted some media interviews along the way. I plan to keep up the travels throughout the year, visiting all of our regional offices and as many county offices as possible!

I look forward to the opportunity to thank our county partners for their continued support of Extension. Thanks to the hard work of our regional directors, for 2016, counties contracted for 119 full time equivalents (FTE) of University of Minnesota Extension program staff through their Memorandums of Agreement (MOA). The majority, 94 FTE, are 4-H program coordinator positions, with another 23 local agriculture educator and natural resources positions, and two family development positions.

I hope to see many of you during these travels as well as during our annual summer Retiree Luncheons.

Bev Durgan


2016 Retiree Luncheons with Dean Bev Durgan

Join us for these annual events. You’ll get together with colleagues, share what is happening in your lives, and get an update on the latest Extension news and initiatives! A postcard with full details will be mailed in April.

Northwest Minnesota: Friday, July 22, 12-2 p.m., Fair Hills Resort, Detroit Lakes (optional cruise on Pelican Lake following lunch, weather permitting)
Twin Cities: Wednesday, July 27, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, Roseville
Southern Minnesota: Date and details pending

New Extension Regional Office in St. Cloud

The Extension Regional Office, St. Cloud moved to a new location on Jan. 4. The new facility features 16 private offices, two drop-in offices, a demonstration/training kitchen, a classroom that seats 25 and a conference room that seats 12. The new address is 3601 18th Street S., St. Cloud, Minn.

Global Initiatives create local impact

John Vreyens has been the director of Extension’s global initiatives for the past two years. Under his leadership, Extension has developed a model for professional development training that adapts Extension programs to fit global arenas. Recently, educators with the Minnesota Agricultural Rural Leadership program and “At Your Service” training worked with Moroccans to adapt materials and facilitate training appropriate for Morocco. You can read more about recent global efforts in Source magazine.

Participation in international experiences is not new to Extension. As far back as 1949, Extension was involved in the Minnesota Agricultural Student Training program. Twenty years ago, family development educators explored family policies across five European countries. International programs continue in Kenya and a youth development, and parenting program is being developed in Guatemala.

Global initiatives offer the skills and knowledge of Extension educators to build the capacity overseas to meet an expressed need. These efforts not only have an impact overseas, the educators also integrate the experience into their programs offered throughout Minnesota.

Minnesota 4-H Foundation 18th Annual Golf Classic

Join us for the Golf Classic and Silent Auction to support Minnesota 4-H on Monday, June 20th at the Wayzata Country Club. The Golf Classic provides an opportunity for individuals and businesses alike to help Minnesota youth see their potential by providing support for the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

Registration, lunch and pre-tournament events start at 11 a.m. The shotgun start is at12:30 p.m. Highlights include golf on an 18-hole private, quality course; opportunities to meet and talk with 4-H youth about the projects that are making an impact in their lives; a lively silent auction; lunch, on-course beverages and a hearty dinner. For more information, visit, call 612-624-7971, or email

Children’s Mental Health eReview

The Center for Family Development's Children, Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC) published an issue of the Children's Mental Health eReview, "Children in common: Ensuring the emotional well-being of children when parenting apart." Authors and editors across Extension centers, University departments and community organizations collaborated to define co-parenting and describe how parents can support their children when parenting apart. They also explored the practice of co-parent education as it affects both divorcing and separated never-married parents. Read this issue. For more information, please contact Cari Michaels.

Health and Nutrition programs meet community needs

University of Minnesota Extension Health and Nutrition staff are working in two Southwest Minnesota communities to ensure that a promising program, I Can Prevent Diabetes ICANPD, is adapted for the food and lifestyle of Somali populations.

In Northeastern Minnesota, staff members of Extension Health and Nutrition and Healthy Northland are collaborating to assess the food environment in communities, stores, worksites and congregate housing sites as a first step toward creating healthy food environments in the region.
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